Journal Epohi
“ST. CYRIL AND ST. METHODIUS” UNIVERSITY OF VELIKO TARNOVO - UNIVERSITY PRESS

Production of and Supply of the Army with Small Arms on the Eve of the Russo-Turkish War (1877–1878). A Brief Overview of the Russian Military Industry


Authors:
Simeon Tsvetkov RHM, Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria

Pages: 258-271
DOI: https://doi.org/10.54664/FEYX4325

Abstract:

In the wake of the Crimean War, the upper military circles in Russia changed their thinking with regard to firearms. General Milyutin became Minister of War. It was the time when Alexander II reigned over Russia. In 1856, the calibre of Russian firearms was reduced to 6 inches, or 15.24 mm. The process of re-equipping the Russian army with M1856 rifles using expanding Minié bullets was launched. These rifles demonstrated that the percussion systems had reached the limit of their capacity for improvement. Nothing else could be improved in terms of their firing speed. Despite the resistance of the conservative military circles, Milyutin encouraged new inventions, and the 1860s became a period of experimentation with firearms. Some new cartridge systems were introduced. The high-quality M1856 percussion rifle was not destined to take part in war times, but the Russian army had been fully equipped with it for a short period of time. Almost all systems of the 1860s were based on this rifle. Over 10 systems of firearms with an internal needle fuse were proposed to the weapons commission. In 1866, the Englishman Karle proposed his own system with an internal needle fuse. Krnka, Berdan I, and Berdan II came next. After 1866, the Terry-Norman, Karle, and Krnka rifles entered the Russian army. These systems were developed on the basis of the 6-line M1856/58 rifle. The latter was converted into a rear-loading rifle. In 1869, the Krnka rifle was chosen as the main system, which became the main weapon of the Russian army in the following years. At the beginning of 1877, there were 613,297 Krnka rifles, 150,868 Karle rifles, 17,810 Berdan I and 325,254 Berdan II rifles in the Russian army.

Keywords:

Russian firearms, Russian army, Krnka, Berdan

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